Ac­tor lives a dream as Shel­don’s fa­ther

Lance Bar­ber holds down a key role in the pop­u­lar Big Bang The­ory spinoff

Calgary Herald - - YOU - MELISSA HANK

Young Shel­don

Re­turns Mon­day, moves to Thurs­days, CBS/CTV

Big Bang The­ory spinoff. If there are four words that can set an ac­tor’s heart aflut­ter, it’s those. Who wouldn’t want to star on a show linked to the most-watched and long­est-run­ning TV com­edy of the mod­ern era?

For Lance Bar­ber, who plays the fa­ther of nine-year-old Shel­don Cooper (Iain Ar­mitage) on Young Shel­don, the op­por­tu­nity was golden, yes, but he knew the show would be able to stand on its own. “I think we have an ad­van­tage,” he says. “But we had to main­tain that with our own mer­its.”

De­but­ing its sec­ond sea­son Mon­day on CTV/CBS be­fore set­tling into its reg­u­lar time slot on Thurs­day, Young Shel­don strikes a bal­ance be­tween straight com­edy and poignant fam­ily mo­ments.

Bar­ber spoke about the se­ries ahead of the sea­son 2 première.

Q Was it eas­ier or harder play­ing a role that had al­ready been ref­er­enced on The Big Bang The­ory?

A I did a lit­tle re­search and I was aware of Big Bang, but read­ing the script for this show, I knew it was go­ing to be dif­fer­ent. The lens we see this fam­ily through is a dif­fer­ent lens than Shel­don sees them through as a man on The Big Bang The­ory. And the Shel­don nar­rat­ing our show is an older Shel­don than the one we see on Big Bang — most peo­ple hope­fully garner some wis­dom and per­spec­tive and see their par­ents dif­fer­ently than when they were young.

Q Big Bang re­vealed that Shel­don’s dad died when he was a teenager. Does that af­fect your per­spec­tive on the char­ac­ter?

A I know I have a ceil­ing on this job. But if they want to keep Ge­orge Sr. on as a Jedi ghost, sure! What I say is that if the show’s lucky enough to go un­til Shel­don reaches 14, which is when Ge­orge Sr. is sup­posed to pass away, I’ll be just fine to carry on with some­thing else. But at least I know! At least I have the com­fort of know­ing the ceil­ing.

Q The show’s set in 1989 — how would you de­scribe the at­ti­tudes about kids who were dif­fer­ent back then?

A We didn’t have the lan­guage for it then. We don’t even de­scribe Shel­don in such lan­guage on the show, but now we do have words like “spec­trum” for peo­ple who have so­cial is­sues and oth­er­wise, who are dif­fer­ent, who are on the out­side. The at­ti­tudes have changed, and it wasn’t that long ago. The cre­ators of the show haven’t said in any sort of spe­cific lan­guage that Shel­don is any­thing other than a su­per­ge­nius and so­cially out­side.

Q Do you have a favourite episode or scene from sea­son 1?

A What I love to play are the mo­ments that have a lot of heart. My favourite stuff has been of­ten with the kids. Mary (Zoe Perry), and I have had some quiet, more in­ti­mate mo­ments that were re­ally fun to play.

Even in the pi­lot, Ge­orgie (Mon­tana Jor­dan), and I have a scene in a locker-room that ex­plains our dilemma right out of the gate. I also had a scene when Shel­don gets cast in the school play and Ge­orge tries to talk to him and let him know he’s try­ing to pro­tect him.

Q What part of Ge­orge Sr.’s story would you like to see de­vel­oped in sea­son 2?

A There are some is­sues in his mar­riage and we see hints of that al­ready. Ge­orge and Mary came into a fam­ily young and un­planned. They’re peo­ple who started a fam­ily be­fore they got to know each other and be­came the peo­ple that they are, so I’d like to see more ex­pla­na­tion of Ge­orge and Mary’s re­la­tion­ship and the dis­solve of it that’s prob­a­bly in­evitable.


De­spite hav­ing a plum as­so­ci­a­tion with the hit Big Bang The­ory, Lance Bar­ber, left, with his TV son Iain Ar­mitage, says Young Shel­don is treated as a sep­a­rate en­tity cre­atively.

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